re·​con·​nais·​sance | \ ri-ˈkä-nə-zən(t)s How to pronounce reconnaissance (audio) , -sən(t)s\

Definition of reconnaissance

: a preliminary survey to gain information especially : an exploratory military survey of enemy territory

Examples of reconnaissance in a Sentence

There are two helicopters available for reconnaissance. They did a reconnaissance of the enemy's position.

Recent Examples on the Web

He had carefully planned, conducted reconnaissance, picked a target, and was in the process of obtaining the weapon. Fox News, "New York man accused of plotting ISIS-inspired terror attack with knife in Queens," 31 Aug. 2019 He had carefully planned, conducted reconnaissance, picked a target, and was in the process of obtaining the weapon. Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "New York man ordered held without bail after allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack," 30 Aug. 2019 The hurricane center said that an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate Dorian this evening, and will help pinpoint the storm’s intensity. Leigh Morgan, al, "Tropical Storm Dorian 2019 path update: Dorian gains strength as concern grows for Puerto Rico and Florida," 26 Aug. 2019 The company advertises it as a great vantage point to conduct reconnaissance of megacities, giving a person a bird’s eye view of the world below. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Military Flyboard Doesn’t Make Any Sense," 17 July 2019 The system is expected to move northeastward offshore of the Southeastern U.S. The hurricane center said a reconnaissance mission planned for today was canceled but another recon flight is scheduled for Sunday. Leigh Morgan, al, "Tropical Storm Dorian forms in Atlantic; could become a hurricane by next week," 24 Aug. 2019 This curious trip was a reconnaissance mission, but not to gather intel about anything on the ground. Alex Davies, WIRED, "A Boeing 737 MAX Test Flight Had Its Ups and Downs," 6 Aug. 2019 Her assignments included flying medical evacuation and reconnaissance aircraft., "Deaths in Central Florida: 8/7," 7 Aug. 2019 Other aircrafts are also tested at the site later, including the OXCART (a supersonic reconnaissance A-12 aircraft) and the F-117 stealth ground attack jet. Cnn Library, CNN, "Area 51 Fast Facts," 31 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reconnaissance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reconnaissance

1779, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reconnaissance

French, literally, recognition, from Middle French reconoissance, from Old French reconoistre to recognize

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Statistics for reconnaissance

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for reconnaissance

The first known use of reconnaissance was in 1779

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More Definitions for reconnaissance



English Language Learners Definition of reconnaissance

: military activity in which soldiers, airplanes, etc., are sent to find out information about an enemy


re·​con·​nais·​sance | \ ri-ˈkä-nə-zəns How to pronounce reconnaissance (audio) \

Kids Definition of reconnaissance

: a survey (as of enemy territory) to get information

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Comments on reconnaissance

What made you want to look up reconnaissance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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